Big crowd attends public input meeting on Ga. 400 corridor


DAHLONEGA, Ga. – A large contingent of Lumpkin County residents filled the Parks & Recreation Department meeting room Thursday evening to share their thoughts on future development of the Ga. 400 corridor.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Chris Dockery said, “We want to make sure we represent what you want to see in that corridor. This is an opportunity to get that public input. That’s very important to us.”

While the development of the corridor is a county responsibility, Dahlonega Mayor Sam Norton joked, ”One reason I’m here is I thought we were going to have pizza tonight.” But Norton added, “The 400 corridor is our gateway. We are very much committed to collaboration and supporting the county in any way.  With me and the chairman and the council and commission, there is no my box, your box. We are very much one community and we have to get this right.”

Rebecca Mincey

The planning process has been under way for some time and Development Authority Executive Director Rebecca Mincey provided some background on where that process stands.

The architect firm of TSW presented details about design guidelines with examples of previous projects they have worked on.

Mincey shared information developed from stakeholder meetings as well as the results of a public preference survey that has been online since Aug. 1.

Because it will be such an important presence on the corridor, representatives from North Georgia Health Systems were on hand to provide an update on the hospital that is planned for Ga. 400.

Northeast Georgia Medical Center Lumpkin has already opened where Chestatee Medical Center used to be. Shawn Couch, Director of Public Relations, said planners are using the flow there to help determine the number of beds that will be needed when the new hospital opens in 2022.

Scott Pippin, a planner with Carl Vincent Institute at the University of Georgia, said that Carl Vincent has been collecting input from everyone about what they want to see. “We have met with county and city officials and others to talk about their interests and concerns and we have had a remarkable uniformity of vision,” he said. He added that the talks centered on transportation, zoning and aesthetics.

Pippin added that questions about transportation included: How will traffic get into and out of the developments along the corridor; How will it affect traffic on Ga. 400?  Zoning questions centered on what kind of uses citizens want to see and aesthetics questions involved the type of landscaping, architectural style and signage that would be included.

Adam Williamson of TSW explained that his company will work with Carl Vincent to create a design guideline book that includes before-and-after renderings of the project including things like typical street sections, sidewalk widths, walking trails, landscape, travel lanes, building types and architectural styles. The guideline book can be used as an economic development tool for the county in branding. Since zoning regulations are typically text, the book can also be more user friendly for planners.

TSW’s Julia Brodsky gave attendees a brief summary of the input that has been gathered in stakeholder meetings so far. “A lot of what we have heard has to do with walkability,” she said. “People are interested in having more trails, bike lanes and sidewalks to walk on. The types of uses that seems to be of interest to bring to the corridor are office, mixed use, different types of housing, green spaces and any needed services.”

Now, the county will pull all the information from stakeholder meetings, citizen input and the online survey together and staff will make some preliminary recommendations to be considered. The final product will be presented to the Board of Commissioners in December and could be enacted by January.

Commissioner Bobby Mayfield elicited a round of applause from attendees when he said, “As far as regulations go, I’m all in favor of mandating these requirements because I’ve had to live with what we have now. So if you want to develop 400, the commissioner from District 2 is going to say it’s going to look like you want it to look.”

Forms were provided for everyone to fill out regarding their preferences for the corridor and members of the county’s planning staff stayed to answer questions from attendees.


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  1. Clarke McDaniel August 23, 2019 at 6:55 pm

    Excellent “in process” overview and public feedback open forum. Standing room only attendance was great to see! I specifically liked hearing that there was a clear vision and shared consensus for the design standards being proposed. I look forward to seeing the evolution/finalization of the “Gateway Corridor Design Standards”.

    • Bill Johnson August 24, 2019 at 7:36 am

      I agree, Clarke. It was a very good forum with a great deal of information shared.Thank you for reading Fetch Your News.

  2. Clarke McDaniel August 24, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    Thanks for the reply Bill. I honestly had never heard of this news source, but my good friend and former colleague in San Diego came across the “fetch” article on the internet when he was researching news about the Lumpkin County meeting. Your summary was “spot on” with everything that took place. Great job.

    • Bill Johnson August 25, 2019 at 7:31 am

      Glad you found us, Clarke and thank you for the kind words. Fetch Your News covers 10 north Georgia counties, including Lumpkin, White and Dawson with local reporters in each site.

  3. Dan Milich August 28, 2019 at 5:19 pm

    Bill – great “boots on the ground” reporting of this event.

    I’ve been plugged into Dahlonega and Lumpkin County since 2014, via my good friend and former work associate Clarke McDaniel. I’m the “colleague in San Diego” Clarke mentions above.

    The growth is inevitable, which makes the vision that molds that growth all the more important. Creating the design guidebook is a great way to bridge the gap between plan development and the future built environment. Putting the right people in place to implement the plan and make vision a reality, is critical.

    Look forward to following this story in future readings.

    Thank you.

    Dan Milich | Director of Development
    Foursquare Properties, Inc.
    5850 Avenida Encinas, Suite A
    Carlsbad, CA 92008
    Direct: (760) 859-1126 Mobile: (760) 644-5119

    • Bill Johnson August 31, 2019 at 6:44 am

      Thank you Dan for reading Fetch Your News and for your comments. I agree vision is so important, especially for this project. That 400 cooridor is going to impact growth in three or four adjoining counties so it is critical to get it right.

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